Having a chronic condition can be life-altering, regardless of your diagnosis. Having the sniffles or a harsh cough from a cold or flu is unpleasant, but it’s easy for most people to push through those few weeks of discomfort. What happens when your illness doesn’t have an end date? And what happens when you happen to have two?
Comorbidity is having two conditions at once, where one medical problem typically results in the development of the other. While the thought of dealing with two disorders may seem overwhelming, there are many steps patients can take to decrease their risks and manage their symptoms.
The key to enjoying optimal health is knowledge and being aware of disorders and diseases that frequently occur in women. And some of the most common female health problems actually occur side-by-side. Do you know which disorders tend to be found together? Take a look at this list of comorbid conditions commonly found in women to understand more about the health issues that surround you.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Depression
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can cause a myriad of unwanted symptoms, from irregular menstrual cycles to weight gain. But while this condition may start off in the ovaries, its effects can be much more profound.
When examining the link between PCOS and psychiatric disorders, researchers have found that nearly 33% of women with this hormonal disorder also experience major depression at some point in their lives.
Because both conditions can be linked to hormones, it’s no wonder a woman with PCOS can also feel blue. The stress associated with the physical symptoms of PCOS coupled with the possible difficulty of conceiving can stimulate a depressive response, too.
Breast Cancer and Hypertension
In a study that examined the conditions experienced by breast cancer patients, hypertension was one of the most commonly reported illnesses that the women developed in addition to their breast cancer. In fact, an astonishing 28% of the breast cancer patients‘ medical records indicated a hypertension diagnosis.
While there are many different risk factors associated with breast cancer development, medical professionals are still in the process of discovering the role hypertension plays in the formation of this disease.
One crucial detail researchers have noticed is the link between hypertension medication and breast cancer rates. Calcium-channel blockers (CCBs) were specifically connected to higher breast cancer reports. If you have any concerns about your current blood pressure medications, never be afraid to discuss your side effects with a licensed physician for more details.
Endometriosis and Ovarian Cancer
Irregular bleeding, pain during sex and trouble with conceiving — these are symptoms women with endometriosis are all too familiar with. It’s a condition where tissue that’s supposed to line the uterus grows in other portions of the body. One potential other side effect most women aren’t prepared for is their higher risk for developing ovarian cancer.
Today, statistic evidence shows that women with endometriosis have 4-5 times the risk of developing ovarian cancer when compared with women who don’t have this disorder.
While this news is scary, it’s vital to educate women on their increased risk for specific health complications so that they can receive the proper screening to detect possible issues as soon as possible.
Migraines and Chronic Pain Disorders
Having a migraine is enough to handle on its own. You may feel crippled by the overwhelming pain that can leave you curled up in bed, waiting for the storm to pass. But for some women, the discomfort doesn’t just stay centered in the head.
Migraines commonly occur in parallel to chronic pain disorders. If you’re experiencing migraines and pain that routinely bothers you in another area of your body, you may have a comorbid disease.
Researchers find that anywhere between 22-40% of patients with migraines have fibromyalgia, too. Since migraines occur most commonly in women, pain management plays a crucial role in women’s health. If you find yourself experiencing intense migraines and chronic pain, connect with a health professional who can help you develop a treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort.
Anemia and Hypothyroidism
Research studies examining the health of patients with anemia found that they were twice as likely to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism than those without this condition. Anemic patients have statistically higher rates of hypothyroidism cases — but why?
Anemia and hypothyroidism are amongst the most common conditions to top the list of comorbid diseases in women due to their interconnected nature. While it’s quite common to have solely one or the other, some women have both because the two involve iron levels in the blood.
Unfortunately, both an underactive thyroid and anemia can leave you feeling tired, moody and lethargic. Hypothyroidism is actually one of the most common causes of low energy in females. Be sure to incorporate iron-rich foods into your diet to keep these unwanted symptoms at bay.
Do you find yourself viewing our list of comorbid diseases with a sense of fear, thinking you may have any of the conditions mentioned above? If so, don’t go into a state of panic just yet.
Doctors and researchers are continuously conducting research that allows them to understand the links between common disorders present in women better. This means that every year, more treatment plans, medications and therapeutic options become available to patients to help them find the relief they deserve.
Always take the time to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about your health — one simple visit could be the path to a much healthier, happier state of being.